Carbonate cements in late Dinantian (Asbian and Brigantian) limestones of the Derbyshire carbonate platform record a diagenetic history starting with early vadose meteoric cementation and finishing with burial and localized mineral and oil emplacement. The sequence is documented using cement petrography, cathodoluminescence, trace element geochemistry and C and O isotopes.

The earliest cements (Pre-Zone 1) are locally developed non-luminescent brown sparry calcite below intrastratal palaeokarsts and calcretes. They contain negligible Fe, Mn and Sr but up to 1000 ppm Mg. Their isotopic compositions centre around δ18O =−8.5‰, δ13C=−5.0‰. Calcretes contain less 13C. Subsequent cements are widespread as inclusion-free, low-Mg, low-Fe crinoid overgrowths and are described as having a‘dead-bright-dull’cathodoluminescence. The‘dead’cements (Zone 1) are mostly non-luminescent but contain dissolution hiatuses overlain by finely detailed bright subzones that correlate over several kilometres. Across‘dead'/bright subzones there is a clear trend in Mg (500–900 ppm), Mn (100–450 ppm) and Fe (80-230 ppm). Zone 1 cements have isotopic compositions centred around δ18O =−8.0‰ and δ13C=−2.5‰. Zone 2 cement is bright, thin and complexly subzoned. It is geochemically similar to bright subzones of Zone 1 cements. Dull Zone 3 cement pre-dates pressure dissolution and fills 70% or more of the pore space. It generally contains little Mn, Fe and Sr but can have more than 1000 ppm Mg, increasing stratigraphically upwards. The δ18O compositions range from −5.5 to −15‰ and the δ13C range is −1 to + 3.20/00. Zone 4 fills veins and stylolite seams in addition to pores. It is synchronous with Pb, Ba, F ore mineralization and oil migration. Zone 4 is ferroan with around 500 ppm Fe, up to 2500 ppm Mg and up to 1500 ppm Mn. Isotopic compositions range widely; δ15O =−2.7 to −9‰ and δ13C=−3.8 to+2.50‰.

Unaltered marine brachiopods suggest a Dinantian seawater composition around δ15O = 0‰ (SMOW), but vital isotopic effects probably mask the original δ13C (PDB) value. Pre-Zone 1 calcites are meteoric vadose cements with light soil-derived δ13C and light meteoric δ18O. An unusually fractionated‘pluvial’δ15O(SMOW) value of around — 6‰ is indicated for local Dinantian meteoric water. Calcrete δ18O values are heavier through evaporation. Zone 1 textures and geochemistry indicate a meteoric phreatic environment. Fe and Mn trends in the bright subzones indicate stagnation, and precipitation occurred in increments from widespread cyclically developed shallow meteoric water bodies. Meteoric alteration of the rock body was pervasive by the end of Zone 1 with a general resetting of isotopic values. Zone 3 is volumetrically important and external sources of water and carbonate are required. Emplacement was during the Namurian-early Westphalian by meteoric water sourced at a karst landscape on the uplifted eastern edge of the Derbyshire-East Midland shelf. The light δ18O values mainly reflect burial temperatures and an unusually high local heat flow, but an input of highly fractionated hinterland-derived meteoric water at the unconformity is also likely. Relatively heavy δ13C values reflect the less-altered state of the source carbonate and aquifer.

Zone 4 is partly vein fed and spans burial down to 2000 m and the onset of tectonism. Light organic-matter-derived δ13C and heavy δ18O values suggest basin-derived formation water. Combined with textural evidence of geopressures, this relates to local high-temperature ore mineralization and oil migration. Low water-to-rock ratios with host-rock buffering probably affected the final isotopic compositions of Zone 4, masking extremes both of temperature and organic-matter-derived CO2.